Very few people in the world get paid like Terry Scholars. Scholars, unless they have a part-time job, only get paid twice a year. When funds disburse, your TTU bill is paid, and then the remainder is direct deposited into your bank. From there it is yours to manage until the next disbursement 10 days before the next semester starts. This can make winter break and summertime pretty difficult if you don't manage your money well.
To help you have a little money to get home on for Christmas, here are some tips for managing your refund. Creating a budget may sound complicated, but all you need to do to get started is set aside some time and get organized—the benefits will make the effort worthwhile. The following steps will help you set up your budget and manage your finances by helping you track your income and expenses.
We know money can be tight, here are some tips to control the costs that we don't always think about:
1 | Banking: Avoid unnecessary ATM fees by seeing which banks are local. Banks that have a branch at home and at school are always a great choice.
2 | Books: Who says you have to buy new books? You can find used ones at bargain prices and some companies offer textbook rentals. Look online for these renters and resellers before hitting the campus bookstore. Some of our favorites include Amazon, Chegg.com, and BigWords.com. One of the best places to find book is on the Terry Facebook Group.
3 | Food: Carefully review meal plans and eat in dining halls, rather than in places that will cost extra money. Even the commuter plan can lead to some big savings. Also, invest in a coffee pot to avoid daily trips to the barista. Five bucks for coffee four times a week over eight months adds up to $640 worth of joe.
4 | Entertainment: Expanded basic cable television service is provided in each residence hall room at no additional cost. Subscription to premium services or digital cable radio may be requested for a monthly fee. However, services such as Netflix and Hulu are inexpensive, and other programming can be found online for free. And don't forget that your college ID means discounts at businesses of all kinds.
5 | Laptop: Students will probably need a laptop, but they won't need one with all the bells and whistles. Ask your advisor, upperclassmen in your major, and review cheaper models and avoid the fancy-pants ones, if it's not necessary. Remember there are ATLC Computing Labs in the hall too
6 | Supplies: New school supplies can be fun, but they may not be a necessity. Wait for your syllabus to indicate what's really required.
7 | Needs vs. wants: We love to sport clothes with the Double T logo, but these things can be pricey. Better for your student to ask for them as presents for birthdays and holidays, or to request gift cards to favorite stores. Welcome Week is one of the best times of year to get FREE Tech t-shirts. They even have a trade in event for transfers. If you bring them an old shirt from your former school, they will give you a new Tech shirt for FREE. Watch Techannounce for details.
It’s a good idea to get organized before you start the process of applying for college student financial aid. Set aside a drawer or file cabinet to hold the documents that you will need to apply for financial aid so you don’t find yourself having to rummage through stacks of paper every time you fill out an application.
DOCUMENTS NEEDED FOR FAFSA
You will need the following information to complete the FAFSA financial aid forms necessary for determining federal student financial aid eligibility. Many scholarship and state programs will also require copies of or information from these documents.
If you plan to apply for any scholarships or other types of financial aid assistance, it is a good idea to keep these additional documents with the information you will need to complete the FAFSA:
NOTE: It is up to each taxpayer to determine eligibility for the credits and how to calculate them. Texas Tech cannot advise you on how to claim the credit.
What is a 1098-T?
The 1098-T is an informational tax form letting you know what information has been sent to the IRS. A 1098-T is sent to each student who was billed tuition during the previous calendar year. It provides information related to the Hope Tax Credit or the Lifetime Learning Credit. Texas Tech is required by the IRS to issue 1098-Ts.
When will I receive the form from the school?
The 1098-T forms are sent to the students' address on file in January.
I received a 1098-T from Texas Tech; does that mean I am eligible for the credit?
Receipt of a 1098-T does not mean that you are eligible for the credit. There are many restrictions associated with the tax credits. Review IRS forms, instructions, and publications for guidance.
What are these credits?
The credits are explained in IRS Publication 970 on Tax Benefits for Higher Education, which can be seen at www.irs.gov/publications/p970/index.html
Overview of the Tax Credits
In August 1997, the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 (TRA97) was signed into law. This law established the Hope and Lifetime Learning tax credits. TRA97 created two education tax credits for students and families:
The American Opportunity Tax Credit provides up to $2,500 per student for qualified tuition and related expenses for the first two years of post-secondary education. To be eligible, students must be enrolled at least half-time in a degree or certificate-granting program.
The Lifetime Learning Tax Credit is more broadly applicable to post secondary education and provides a credit up to $2000.
NOTE: Texas Tech cannot provide tax advice. It is up to each taxpayer to determine eligibility for the credits and how to calculate them. Please advise a tax professional on how to claim the credit.